American actress Bonnie Franklin died Friday from complications due to pancreatic cancer. She was 69 years old.
Franklin was a California native and arguably destined for fame; she moved to Beverly Hills, California at 13 years old, graduated from Beverly Hills High School, and later went on to attend UCLA. Her first spot in front of the camera came at just 9 years old when she received a part in The Colgate Comedy Hour.
A string of commercials and bit parts would follow until her Broadway debut in 1970 in the musical Applause — a play based on the critically acclaimed and commercially successful 1950s film All About Eve. Bonnie Franklin received a Tony Award nomination for her performance in Applause; she was just 26 years old.
The success of Applause led her to the role of Ann Romano in the hit CBS sitcom One Day at a Time, which aired from 1975 until 1984. The show centered on Ann Romano and her two children, Julie (Mackenzie Phillips) and Barbara (Valerie Bertinelli) as they lived in Indianapolis, Indiana after Ann's recent divorce from her husband.
One Day at a Time was billed as a "comedy-drama" in which serious situations were dealt with in humorous overtones to lighten the mood. Valerie Bertinelli won two Golden Globe Awards for Best Supporting Actress for her role as the younger but more mature daughter of Ann Romano.
After One Day at a Time ended in 1984, Bonnie Franklin went on to find bit parts in single-episode appearances in shows like Touched by an Angel and Hot in Cleveland. Her last television appearance came in 2012 on The Young and the Restless.
Mackenzie Phillips remembered Bonnie Franklin in her 2009 memoir High on Arrival and said Franklin was dedicated to the role of Ann Romano and the significance of One Day at a Time. Wrote Phillips, "Bonnie felt a responsibility to the character and always gave a million notes on the scripts." She continued, "Above all, she didn't want it to be sitcom fluff — she wanted it to deal honestly with the struggles and truths of raising two teenage daughters as a single mother."
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